No Piece of the Pie: US Food Workers in 2016

Authors: Food Chain Workers Alliance and Solidarity Research Cooperative

Date: November 2016

The 21.5 million workers in the food system make up the largest employment sector in the United States, with 14% or over one out of every seven workers in the U.S. working along the food chain. In the five key sectors of the food chain — production, processing, distribution, retail, and service — poor working conditions, below average wages, and discriminatory and abusive practices are all commonplace. While overall employment in the food system recovered relatively quickly from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, workers themselves have not seen positive changes. Since the Food Chain Workers Alliance’s 2012 report The Hands That Feed Us, wages overall remain stagnant, food workers are accessing food stamps at higher levels, health and safety problems have increased, and membership in unions has declined.